The Boys of Nodaway Ridge
Copyright© 2014 – Nicholas Hall
The Boys of Nodaway Ridge – Epilogue
"Therefore all seasons shall be sweet to thee,
Whether the summer clothe the general earth
With greenness, or the redbreast sit and sing
Betwixt the tufts of snow on the bare branch
Of mossy apple-tree, while the nigh thatch
Smokes in the sun-thaw; whether the eave-drops fall
Heard only in the trances of the blast,
Or if the secret ministry of frost
Shall hang them up in silent icicles,
Quietly shining to the quiet moon."
(Samuel Taylor Coleridge)
Pastor Tolliver looked over the large crowd gathered this sunny, fall afternoon near the entrance of the Hanson-Robertson Recreation Area. The sun, although warm, portended of the coming winter and the time for men to harvest, to reap, and gather provisions for the winter ahead. Once the harvest was in, the pantries filled, and wood gathered to ward off the impending cold, celebrations could begin. However, this day, this special day, was also a time to celebrate, yet one of sadness, and dedication of a fitting tribute. Lives had changed as a result of those honored this day and their little community was better for their passing through.
The music of the hills, those "hill songs" loved by the populace and bearing the tales of life's sadness, triumphs, and families were sung and played by local musicians. As each group played, the audience gathered was reminded of the gratitude they owed.
Before coming to the ceremony, Pastor Tolliver stopped by the cemetery at his little church to say a prayer for and tell Frank Cauldwell-Harris and Nathan Harris-Cauldwell what was going to transpire that day. They rested side by side with one headstone proclaiming and preserving their love for each other, for under each name was the simple word, "Beloved," and an inscription chiseled into the marble stone at the bottom, "Partners in Life and Eternity."
Barely a month after Frank died, Nate joined him. Pastor Tolliver discovered his body lying length-wise on Frank's grave. Even in death, Nate's smile was given for his beloved Frank. He just couldn't go on without the love of his life. The coroner ruled the death a "heart attack" but Pastor knew it was really a "broken heart."
The dedication ceremony was rapidly growing to a close, the final song was played, and it was time for Pastor Tolliver to speak a few words and do his part in the ceremony. The audience quieted as he stepped forward.
"My remarks will be short," he began, "since their works proclaim their belief that `whatever you do for the least of us, you do for all of us.' A learned man by the name of Johnson once wrote, `If we fasten our attention on what we have, rather than what we lack, a very little wealth is sufficient.' Frank and Nate focused our attention on our wealth, however meager it might seem, and encouraged us to share with each other. So, this day, I unveil this monument and dedicate it to their memory."
Pastor Tolliver pulled the cord that slipped the drapes from the large marble stone standing near the entrance of the park, greeting all who drove by or came to the Recreation Area. In bronze base relief, set into the stone, were the life-sized smiling faces of Frank Cauldwell-Harris and Nathan Harris-Cauldwell, identified by their names beneath their faces and recognized with large bronze letters over their likenesses as
"The Boys of Nodaway Ridge."
Thank you for reading "The Boys of Nodaway Ridge." I hope you've enjoyed it. There are many in our lives that give so much and ask for so little in return, I hope we all can take some time to say "thank you" and then pay it forward. (Nick)
This is a work of fiction. Names, characters, places, and incidents either are the product of the author's imagination or are used fictitiously. Any resemblance to actual persons, living or dead, or locales is entirely coincidental.
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